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PCR #343. (Vol. 7, No. 42) This edition is for the week of October 16--22, 2006.
Mike's RantMike's Bust
Hello, gang! Pretty much a hodge podge this week. Shall we begin?

The Tampa Film Review for October  by Nolan B. Canova
The Halloween Horror Picture Show '06  by Nolan B. Canova
Monster Mish-Mash! ScreamFest 2006  by ED Tucker
"Flags of our Fathers"  by Mike Smith
Things Are Changing in Tampa!  by Mark Terry
Attention All Movie-Going People!  by Drew Reiber
Remembering Buck....This Won't Get You To Heaven....What's That You Said?....The End....It's Not A Dream, You're Fired....Brother, Can You Spare A Dime....Passing On....My Favorite Films, Part 42: "Used Cars"  by Mike Smith
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Last week in my haste I neglected to post the website address for the Negro League Baseball Museum. I hope you take the time to visit the site and, if so inclined, make a donation in Buck O'Neil's name. Thanks. www.nlbm.com

Well, this week Mark Foley outed the Catholic priest he said molested him as a child. The priest admits to perhaps being inappropriate with Foley (massages, skinny dipping) but can only remember one instance where there may have been sexual contact. You know, in all my years of playing, and now coaching, baseball, I can remember hundreds of times where I slapped my teammates/players on the ass. And of course, the always intense "cup checks." Hope I don't start text messaging any of those kids.

Speaking of Foley, Dennis Hasbert has said repeatedly that he has "no recollection" of the constant warnings others have testified they gave him about Foley's behavior. You know, if you can't remember someone telling you that one of your buddies has a thing for young boys should you really have ANYTHING to do with running this country? One idiot is enough.

Very sad to see that CBGB's, the New York City club that gave the world Blondie and the Ramones, among other groups, closed this past Sunday. A genuine piece of musical history.

No reason has been offered yet but the entire cast of the upcoming "DALLAS" movie, with the exception of John Travolta, were fired this week. Travolta will stay on as J.R., but no word yet on who will replace Luke Wilson (Bobby), Shirley MacLaine (Miss Ellie) and Meg Ryan (Sue Ellen). Filming was expected to begin next month.

If so, please give Wesley Snipes a call.

Two voices from my youth left us this week:
Freddy Fender, whose musical career spanned six decades, died this past Saturday at the age of 69. He had battled lung cancer and other illnesses for some time. Born in San Benito, Texas, Baldemar Huerta took his name from the neck of his guitar. "Freddie" just sounded good. Fender hit the big time in 1975 when his song, "Before the Next Teardrop Falls," hit #1 on the pop and country charts. He followed that song with a song he had originally recorded in the 1950s, "Wasted Days and Wasted Nights." Combining rock and roll, country and traditional tejano music, Fender put more then 15 songs on the pop and country charts. He joined Doug Sahm, Augie Meyers and Flaco Jimenez in the 1990s as part of the Texas Tornados, winning a Grammy for his efforts. He and Jimenez teamed up with members of Los Lobos to form Los Super Seven, winning a second Grammy in the process. In 2002 he won a solo Grammy for his Spanish language album, "La Musica de Baldemar Huerta."
Christopher Glenn, CBS newsman who narrated one of my favorite Saturday morning memories, "In the News," died this week of liver cancer at the age of 68. Sadly, he was scheduled to be inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in less then three weeks. Glenn retired from CBS in February after 35 years.

Starring: Kurt Russell, Gerrit Graham, Jack Warden
Directed by: Robert Zemeckis

FIRST SEEN: Embassy Theatre, Kansas City, Missouri
FAVORITE LINE: "For uttering those contemptuous remarks in my presence I'm gonna have your balls in a sling!"
FAVORITE SCENE: The television commercial.

There used to be a little theatre exhibition show held in the Midwest entitled "Showarama." In 1980 I was managing the theatre at Fort Leavenworth and was invited to attend this convention. The highlight was a special sneak preview of an upcoming comedy. I remember two things: the theatre was packed and only five people, myself included, laughed.

The story of a feud between rival used car dealerships, "Used Cars" was a collaboration between "the Bobs" - Zemeckis and Gale, who had found a true friend in director Steven Spielberg. Spielberg had produced their first big feature, the Beatles era comedy "I Want To Hold Your Hand," and the two had also come up with the story for the directors' World War II comedy, "1941." "Used Cars" was a broad comedy, highlighted by a hilarious dual performance by Jack Warden as the Fuchs brothers. The rest of the cast was just as good. Russell, as the head salesman and wannabe politician, was just getting back into films after injuring himself playing baseball. Gerrit Graham, still so underused, was his very superstitious buddy. Together they did anything and everything to get people to their lot, going as far as to interrupt President Carter during a nationwide address to the nation. Their commercial, filmed at the competitors lot, is full of gunfire and nudity as Marshall Lucky reduces prices his own way. When he looks into the camera, says "Wait just a Goddamn minute. What the hell is this? Is this a 1974 Mercedes 450SL for $24,000? That's too fucking high!"and then blows the car up, it's one of those moments you laugh at 20 minutes later. Especially when he adds, "we blew the shit out of that over priced mother fucker!" If only today's car ads were that funny (and honest) maybe Ford wouldn't be laying off thousands of people. The supporting cast is just as funny, with Frank McRae, Joe Flaherty and the great Al Lewis obviously having a ball. Zemeckis regulars Marc McClure and Wendie Joe Sperber (they had appeared in "I Want to Hold Your Hand" and would later play Marty McFly's brother and sister in the "Back to the Future" films) also show up in minor parts. Sharp eyed fans of the film, "Grease," will see both "Greased Lightning" and the Scorpion's black Mercury in the group of cars that Russell pawns off on a school driver's ed teacher.

Next week I'll be joined by some special guests when I look at John Carpenter's classic film, "Halloween".

Well, that's all for now. Have a great week. See ya!

"Mike's Rant" is ©2006 by Michael A. Smith.  Webpage design and all graphics herein are creations of Nolan B. Canova. All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2006 by Nolan B. Canova.